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§ 75. Missions among the Mohammedans.


Two important names are associated with the missions among the Mohammedans, Francis of Assisi and Raymundus Lullus, and with their labors, which were without any permanent results, the subject is exhausted. The Crusades were adapted to widen the gulf between the Christians and the Mohammedans, and to close more tightly the ear of the followers of the False Prophet to the appeals of the Christian emissary.

Franciscan friars went in 1213 to Morocco and received the martyr’s crown, but left no impression upon the Mohammedans.892892    Müller, Anfänge des Minoritenordens, 207 sqq., has set this mission beyond doubt.d by eleven companions. The accounts are meagre and uncertain.893893    Jacob of Vitry, Hist. Occ., 32, and Giordano di Giano are our chief authorities. Sabatier, in his Life of Francis, accepts the testimony, but dismisses the tour in a few lines. that the sultan was so much touched by Francis’ preaching that he gave the Franciscan friars admission to the Holy Sepulchre, without payment of tribute.

Raymundus Lullus, 1235?-1315, devoted his life to the conversion of Mohammedans and attested his zeal by a martyr’s death. He was one of the most noteworthy figures produced during the Middle Ages in Southwestern Europe. He made three missionary tours to Africa and originated the scheme for establishing chairs at the universities to teach the Oriental languages and train missionaries. He also wrote many tracts with the aim of convincing unbelievers of the truth of Christianity.

Lullus was born in Palma on the island of Majorca. His father had gained distinction by helping to wrest the Balearic islands from the Saracens. The son married and had children, but led a gay and licentious life at court and devoted his poetic gifts to erotic sonnets. At the age of thirty-one he was arrested in his wild career by the sight of a cancer on the breast of a woman, one of the objects of his passion, whom he pursued into a church, and who suddenly exposed her disease. He made a pilgrimage to Campostella, and retired to Mt. Randa on his native island. Here he spent five years in seclusion, and in 1272 entered the third order of St. Francis. He became interested in the conversion of Mohammedans and other infidels and studied Arabic under a Moor whom he had redeemed from slavery. A system of knowledge was revealed to him which he called "the Universal Science," ars magna or ars generalis. With the aid of the king of Aragon he founded, in 1276 on Majorca, a college under the control of the Franciscans for the training of missionaries in the Arabic and Syriac tongues.

Lullus went to Paris to study and to develop his Universal Science. At a later period he returned and delivered lectures there. In 1286 he went to Rome to press his missionary plans, but failed to gain the pope’s favor. In 1292 he set sail on a missionary tour to Africa from Genoa. In Tunis he endeavored in vain to engage the Mohammedan scholars in a public disputation. A tumult arose and Lullus narrowly escaped with his life. Returning to Europe, he again sought to win the favor of the pope, but in vain. In 1309 he sailed the second time for Tunis, and again he sought to engage the Mohammedans in disputation. Offered honors if he would turn Mohammedan, he said, "And I promise you, if you will turn and believe on Jesus Christ, abundant riches and eternal life."

Again violently forced to leave Africa, Lullus laid his plans before Clement V. and the council of Vienne, 1311. Here he presented a refutation of the philosophy of Averrhoes and pressed the creation of academic chairs for the Oriental languages. Such chairs were ordered erected at Avignon, Paris, Oxford, Salamanca, and Bologna to teach Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic.894894    The object of the chairs was declared to be to further the exposition of the Scriptures and the conversion of unbelievers. See Hefele, VI. 545. A little earlier the pamphleteer Peter Dubois had urged it as the pope’s duty to establish institutes for the study of the Oriental languages as it was his duty to see that the Gospel was preached to all peoples. See Scholz, Die Publizistik zur Zeit Philipps des Schönen, 427-431.

Although nearly eighty years old the indefatigable missionary again set out for Tunis. His preaching at Bougia led, as before, to tumults, and Lullus was dragged outside of the city and stoned. Left half dead, he was rescued by Christian seamen, put on board a ship, and died at sea. His bones are preserved at Palma.

For a period of nearly fifty years this remarkable man had advocated measures for carrying the Gospel to the Mohammedans. No impression, so far as we know, was made by his preaching or by his apologetic writings upon unbelievers, Jew or Mohammedan, but with his name will always be associated the new idea of missionary institutes where men, proposing to dedicate themselves to a missionary career, might be trained in foreign languages. But Lullus was more than a glowing advocate of missions. He was a poet and an expert scholastic thinker.895895    According to the catalogue in the Escurial prepared by D. Arias de Loyola, Lullus wrote 410 tracts, most of which exist only in MS., and are distributed among the libraries of Europe. Of these, 46 are controversial works against the Mohammedans, Jews, and Averrhoists. Lea speaks of Lullus "as perhaps the most voluminous author on record." III. 581.hought to the physical sciences, he has been compared to his fellow Franciscan, Roger Bacon.896896    Reuter, Gesch. der Aufklärung, II. 95 sq.

His Universal Science he applied to medicine and law, astrology and geography, grammar and rhetoric, as well as to the solution of theological problems.897897    In his work on the miracles of heaven and earth, de miraculis coeli es mundi, he represents a father leading his son through woods and across fields, over deserts and through cities, among plants and animals, into heaven and hell, and pointing out the wonders they saw. In his Blanquerna magister christianae perfectionis he presents an ethical drama in which the hero is introduced to all stations of religious life, monk, abbot, bishop, cardinal, and pope, and at last gives up the tiara to retire to the seclusion of a convent.as a key to all the departments of thought, celestial and terrestrial. Ideas he represented by letters of the alphabet which were placed in circles and other mathematical diagrams. By the turning of the circles and shifting of lines these ideas fall into relations which display a system of truth. The word "God," for example, was thus brought into relation with nine letters, B-K, which represented nine qualities: goodness, greatness, eternity, power, wisdom, volition, virtue, truth, and glory. Or the letters B-K represented nine questions, such as, what, quid; from what, de quo; why, quare; how much, quantum. Being applied to God, they afford valid definitions, such as "God’s existence is a necessity." This kaleidoscopic method, it is not improbable, Lullus drew from Jewish and Arabic, sources, and he himself called it Cabalistic.

The philosophy of Lullus found a number of adherents who were called Lullists. It was taught at the universities of Valencia and Aragon. Giordano Bruno drew from it. Eymericus, the inquisitor, became the bitter foe of the Lullists, arraigned their leader’s teachings before the Roman court, and exhibited a bull of Gregory XI. (1372) condemning them as heretical.898898    The genuineness of this bull has been a subject of much controversy. Commissions were even appointed by later popes to investigate the matter, and the bull, with other documents originating with Gregory, was not found. Hergenröther pronounces for its genuineness, Kirchengesch., II. 540. Eymericus ascribed Lullus’teachings to the suggestion of the devil, and declared that Lullus maintained the erroneous proposition that "all points of faith and the sacraments, and the power of the pope may be proved by reasoning, necessary, demonstrative, and evident."es in the Escurial library. Lullus’ works were included in the Index of Paul IV., 1559, but ordered removed from the list by the council of Trent. A papal decision of 1619 forbade Lullus’ doctrine as dangerous. In 1847 Pius IX. approved an office for the "holy Raymundus Lullus" in Majorca, where he is looked upon as a saint. The Franciscans have, since the time of Leo X., commemorated the Spaniard’s memory in their Breviary.



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